Health report highlights Warwickshire has ‘worrying inequalities’

SUS-150807-173821001
SUS-150807-173821001

Warwickshire has been identified as having ‘a number of health inequalities’ leaving the vulnerable groups ‘lagging behind’ the general population.

“Everyone in Warwickshire Counts: Valuing the Vulnerable” is this year’s public health report for the county, which was published in September.

It was drawn up by Dr John Linnane, Warwickshire County Council’s director of public health, who said: “I have chosen vulnerable groups as the focus of my report this year as I am concerned that, whilst the health and wellbeing of the Warwickshire population in general has seen significant improvements over recent years, the health and wellbeing of vulnerable groups continues to lag behind.

“We want everyone in Warwickshire to experience good health and wellbeing.

“To make this a reality we need to focus attention on those who are at greatest risk of harm and enable them to achieve their aspirations.”

The report identifies that despite being one of the least deprived local authorities in the country, Warwickshire still has a number of health inequalities.

In the report for these inequalities, Warwickshire has been split up into local authority areas.

Compared to the figures for the rest of England, the Warwick District currently has a lower percentage for initiating breastfeeding, a higher percentage for hospital admissions for unintentional and deliberate injuries in children up to 14 years old, as well as higher percentages for incidents of tuberculosis (TB) and the suicide rate, compared to the rest of the England.

On the other side of the figures, the Warwick District is performing better in terms of the amount of sexually transmitted infections and obese and overweight children. Excessive weight for adults and the rate of diabetes is also better than when compared to England.

Better figures were also seen for emergency hospital admissions for self harm, cervical, bowel and breast cancer screening and for preventable deaths.

The issue of loneliness was also in the public health report.

The problem of loneliness, and its impact on people’s health, was raised at a council meeting last month.

The Liberal Democrats asked a question at Warwickshire County Council’s meeting after the publication of this year’s annual report from the county’s Director of Public Health.

Loneliness was one area highlighted. The report found that almost one in three (31 per cent) of the population aged 65 and over are estimated to be lonely ‘some of the time’ and seven per cent ‘all of the time or often’.

In Warwickshire, this equates to over 43,000 people experiencing some degree of loneliness or social isolation (LSI) in this age group.

However, LSI can affect all ages, and can lead to people making poor choices for their health like smoking or choosing a poor diet.

People experiencing LSI are also more prone to illness like cardiovascular disease, dementia, and have higher rates of suicide.

The report highlights the need to ensure people suffering LSI are identified, that their needs are understood, and they are helped to access services – which can include transport or technology solutions.

The Lib Dems asked: “In light of the report, which highlights the impact of loneliness and isolation on people’s health and wellbeing, council asks cabinet to consider what steps could be taken to reduce social isolation and loneliness including how we work with partners and the voluntary and community sector on targeted initiatives and the role that public transport plays in this context.”